Disc Brakes for an Imperial

macr0w

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Big thanks btw to Cody and John for all your helpful info.
Hopefully it will help me and anyone else who happens along this thread.
That's the good part about dummies asking questions on message boards. :D
 

300C

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Keeping the drums sounds fine but where can you find drums?
I've yet to take them apart but the guy who sold it to my son said they were turned about as far as they will go.
I'm worried that I'm going to get it apart and need new drums.


Hi, welcome to the wonderful world of the 1964 Incomparable Imperial............for which NO drums are repopped. And I do not believe the 65/66 drums fit due to the axle. When restoring my '64 Shriner Imp I sourced drums from Murray Park. As usual he came through with a set of four useable drums that arrived in good shape. I don't drive this beast too much but when I do it's like heaven on earth...even with the bias ply tires (this is an AACA car). Radials really tune the ride even better! Early on the power brake booster failed and I had Booster Dewey hook me up. Stopping a 5300 Imp convertible is about impossible without the power booster....kinda like Fred Flinstone!!! The Imperial is a fab car! Enjoy and this site is really great for info and resources!
64 Imperial Crown (Shriner).JPG
 

detmatt

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Imperial BRAKE SHOES - DISC PADS

Shoes

Year Front Shoes/Pads Rear Shoes
1954-56

1957-58
1959-62 B86 B86
1963-66 B148/RS148
B148/RS148

1967-69
1970-72 S781 B336/RS336
1973 S7018
"

1974-75
"

B335/445/446 Drum (check size)
1976-78
"

B445/446 (check Size)
1981-83 S7017M B445
 

macr0w

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Okay guys, I pulled my front drums.
The drivers side has some grooves in it. The shoes are gone.
The passenger side looks pretty good.
I'm going to get some shoes, cylinders and spring kits for all 4 wheels and a dual tank master cylinder.
I pulled my booster and I'm going to send it to Booster Dewey today if I can get it out the door.
Look at these pics and let me know what you think about their condition.

Drivers front.
IMG_20211007_085438869.jpg

IMG_20211007_085454659.jpg

IMG_20211007_085505489.jpg


Passenger Front.
IMG_20211007_085521039.jpg

IMG_20211007_085524961.jpg


Drivers Drum.
IMG_20211006_173453581.jpg
IMG_20211006_173501827.jpg


Passenger Drum.
IMG_20211006_173637981.jpg
IMG_20211006_173645949.jpg
 

John Kirby

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This car is nearly 60 years old. I recommend you inspect the brake lines for rust. You wouldn't want to do all this work and have a brake line related failure. I replaced the rear line with nickel/copper 3/16". It wasn't that expensive. You can bend it with your hand if you're careful. But a tubing bender is essential and low cost. Use your original line as a template. It doesn't need to be exact. The front lines are difficult with the body in place. All the parts are available from several places. The mounting clips, tube nuts, and spiral shield are available on Amazon.

The dual chamber master cylinder from a late 60's mopar should bolt in, along with the proportioning valve. One thing to think about is the booster push rod length if you change booster or master cylinder. It is typically set to 0.25 - 0.75 mm clearance. Many think it's a bolt in and go thing but it's not. Check this before mounting everything in the car. There is a you tube video on it.


the relevant part starts at 31:50.
 

Big_John

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Okay guys, I pulled my front drums.
The drivers side has some grooves in it. The shoes are gone.
The passenger side looks pretty good.
I'm going to get some shoes, cylinders and spring kits for all 4 wheels and a dual tank master cylinder.
I pulled my booster and I'm going to send it to Booster Dewey today if I can get it out the door.
Look at these pics and let me know what you think about their condition.

Drivers front.
View attachment 489713
View attachment 489714
View attachment 489715

Passenger Front.
View attachment 489716
View attachment 489717

Drivers Drum.
View attachment 489718 View attachment 489719

Passenger Drum.
View attachment 489720 View attachment 489721

Drivers drum needs to be turned. No discussion. Hopefully it will clean up and still be in spec. Years ago, I had friends that would turn drums for me and say "close enough" if they got a touch oversize, understanding the built in safety margins. In today's crazy world of litigation, I doubt if anyone would do that.
img_20211006_173453581-jpg.jpg


Hard to tell, but I'd probably turn the passenger drum too, with the request of a very light skim cut. In all reality, I've seen drums like that reused without problems.

img_20211006_173637981-jpg.jpg


I've been staying away from the new wheel cylinders. Most of that stuff is being made offshore these days and I've had problems with bleeders not working correctly. Others have had that issue too. I've bought NORS cylinders and double checked the rubber and used those, if I couldn't rebuild the existing wheel cylinders.
 

CBODY67

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I'm sure I could rebuild the wheel cylinders if I could find the parts. :D
Other than the kit (new rubbers and piston), you'll need a brake cyl stone hone. Plus some extra brake fluid and a catch pan. Maybe some sort of squeeze bottle to flush the honed cyl before reassembly, too.

Just some thoughts,
CBODY67
 

Big_John

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I was thinking, and that is usually regarded as dangerous, but if the drums are available as 11 x 3 with a 4 1/2" bolt circle, why couldn't they just be drilled for the 5 1/2" (or 5") bolt circle?

If the front bearing hub diameter is the same, that makes it easier, but even if it wasn't, I would bet on the Imperial being larger. Same for the rear drum axle hub. That would be easy enough to bore to size if it isn't.

A couple hours with a Bridgeport mill would do all 4. Enough call for them (and if the center hole is the same) and a simple drill jig could be made and suddenly it's a half hour on a drill press.

That is if all the rest of the dimensions are the same.....
 
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Thanks for the replies guys.
I actually met a guy here in Charlotte who stopped me and said he had a 66 and already been through all of this stuff.
He gave me his email address.
So I guess the RamMan really has a bad rep, huh?
I attempted to order a rear disk conversion from him. It didn't go well. I would read his BBB report card. I read a lot of negative reviews online, mainly about how they never returned calls, answered questions, basic customer service stuff. My experience was very similar to all of the negative reviews I'd read online. After repeatedly telling me one thing when I would call them (we're waiting on XYZ, tracking says they'll be here tomorrow, we'll ship them out Thursday...) I finally read the reviews and decided I didn't want to do business with them because If I had a problem I believed I would be stuck with several hundred dollars worth of paper weights. I called to cancel the order, I emailed to cancel the order, I disputed the charge with my credit card company, and I disputed the charge with PayPal. I still never heard back from them. 2 weeks later I got an email from PayPal as an update on my dispute, they had shipped the parts that I had attempted to cancel. I intercepted the package through USPS as return to sender. The post office showed them immediately returned (because they used my address as the return address) and PayPal settled the dispute in my favor and I got a full refund. I called them again (because I wanted to help them get their parts back, I'm not interested in screwing them or anybody else over) and they have still never once called or emailed me.
Ultimately I got what I believe to be the same kit from LEED through Summit Racing for less money. But I would have paid more to get them through RamMan (I also watched the videos and thought these are the folks who know about their stuff and I want to do business with them), but their bad reputation (earned way before COVID problems) seems well earned. I don't believe they are a total scam, but everything they told me they would do never happened (lies? or maybe confusion?), and I had no faith in them coming through in the end.
 

Big_John

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I attempted to order a rear disk conversion from him. It didn't go well. I would read his BBB report card. I read a lot of negative reviews online, mainly about how they never returned calls, answered questions, basic customer service stuff. My experience was very similar to all of the negative reviews I'd read online. After repeatedly telling me one thing when I would call them (we're waiting on XYZ, tracking says they'll be here tomorrow, we'll ship them out Thursday...) I finally read the reviews and decided I didn't want to do business with them because If I had a problem I believed I would be stuck with several hundred dollars worth of paper weights. I called to cancel the order, I emailed to cancel the order, I disputed the charge with my credit card company, and I disputed the charge with PayPal. I still never heard back from them. 2 weeks later I got an email from PayPal as an update on my dispute, they had shipped the parts that I had attempted to cancel. I intercepted the package through USPS as return to sender. The post office showed them immediately returned (because they used my address as the return address) and PayPal settled the dispute in my favor and I got a full refund. I called them again (because I wanted to help them get their parts back, I'm not interested in screwing them or anybody else over) and they have still never once called or emailed me.
Ultimately I got what I believe to be the same kit from LEED through Summit Racing for less money. But I would have paid more to get them through RamMan (I also watched the videos and thought these are the folks who know about their stuff and I want to do business with them), but their bad reputation (earned way before COVID problems) seems well earned. I don't believe they are a total scam, but everything they told me they would do never happened (lies? or maybe confusion?), and I had no faith in them coming through in the end.

My take on him is that he is knowledgeable about Mopar brakes. Then again, I don't know as it's rocket surgery, but I have watched a couple videos where he shows differences in parts and does some good, basic diagnostics. It looks to me like he dropped the ball on the C Body spindles.

What does bother me is videos (NSFW) like this:


There are several similar videos.

Having been in business myself, I can tell you that some of the least professional things you can do is to berate any customer, no matter what they did. It's part of doing business... You take the lumps, no matter who is at fault and move on. You put them on the "don't do business with them" list if need be, but never rag on them in public.

That type of behavior says to me to expect other things not to be handled professionally and in a timely manner. I'd also expect some dishonesty, to be quite frank.

In his defense, I've read that he had a terrible motorcycle accident and may have suffered some brain damage. I don't know if that's true or not, but it may explain some behavior, but doesn't excuse it. What he needs is someone to manage things while he works in the back room.
 
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My experience was that if I called them and they answered, they would tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. If I left a message, it was never returned. What turned me off is realizing that if I had any issues (their fault or mine), I was going to be left twisting in the breeze.

I am currently getting a lot of parts through FirmFeel, and I've had several issues (their fault and mine), but whenever I call they are friendly and helpful.

Customer loyalty doesn't come from never having things go wrong, true loyalty comes from knowing that if something does go wrong the business will work with you to solve the problem.

The Ram Man | Better Business Bureau® Profile
 

CBODY67

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Customer loyalty doesn't come from never having things go wrong, true loyalty comes from knowing that if something does go wrong the business will work with you to solve the problem.

I concur, it's not specifically that a problem existed, but how the problem was addressed and fixed to the customer's satisfaction that really matters. Including that the seller was positive about getting the problem fixed in the first place. Then that it did happen.

Enjoy!
CBODY67
 

macr0w

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I think it sucks for all of us that the only guy who makes a disc brake conversion kit for an Imperial is a guy no one trusts.
 

CBODY67

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I think it sucks for all of us that the only guy who makes a disc brake conversion kit for an Imperial is a guy no one trusts.
IF what he was selling for Imperials would really work on an Imperial . . .
 

Mr C

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If you cannot get the drums to work (which I doubt), contact Wilwood. Jay Leno had custom 4 wheel discs done for his 58 Imperial...so much of the design work is done. Helpful, since the Imperial Dbody chassis stayed largely the same out to 66.



No doubt it would be pricey...hopefully Wilwood kept the information for the Imperial...
 

CBODY67

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I realize that we are in a different world than we were in the middle 1960s or a bit later. When we were getting used to wearing seat belts. When "cup holders" were shallow indentions in the inside of the glove box door. When young kids were either held in their parent's arms or sat beside/between them in the front seat . . . whose spring-loaded elbows deployed during a quick stop. And car trunks were big enough to support a 2-week summer vacation.

Other than the "aircraft style" disc brakes on the 1953 or so Imperials, the disc brakes we came to know were specifically for "sports cars" from Europe and 1963 and later Corvettes. FEW people knew how to work on them, except in larger metro areas or at niche race car shops, by observation. People who lived in hilly or mountainous areas knew how to modulate their brake applications and to use lower gears on the road. So, in one respect, people knew how to drive defensively rather than just drive oblivious to the outside world. With FEW distractions other than looking somewhere else or changing the radio station, for example. In the areas where applicable, the better brake linings/shoes were known and sold as needed, I suspect.

Drag racers came to like disc brakes so they could better slow down for the last turn onto the pit return road, too.

But now we are in a world of social media, text allerts, etc and other things which can vie for the driver's attention. Even in-dash navigation systems that talk!

I know we are supposed to drive and enjoy our vintage vehicles (hard to consider a '65 Imperial, or similar, "vintage" in the same way as a Model T Ford), but traffic and "that other person" we are supposed to be watching and being ready for them to do something flaky make such driving enjoyment variable in when and where it can be done safely (for all involved).

We've also become accustomed to high-traction tires and anti-lock brake systems, too. "Stomp the brakes and Steer", rather than manually modulate/pulse the brakes to maintain steering control during the stop (which means the driver "knows" their vehicle and how it responds to brake and steering inputs).

Disc brakes CAN be better than drums, but usually not so much on that ONE FIRST stop (even from 70mph) that matters, usually. It's on those second, third, and fourth stops where fade resistance is important that disc brakes really shine. Plus, a bit easier and quicker to change pads rather than shoes.

Drive defensively. Leave yourself "an out" whenever possible.

Just some thoughts and observations,
CBODY67
 

CBODY67

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Apparently, some "re-purposings" might need to happen. The 11x3 drum size are not specific to just Chrysler products, but possibly some drum brake Fords, too? Nor is the Imperial's larger bolt circle unique to them either.

How different is the backing plate mounting flange on the Imperial's rear axle from that of a normal 8 3/4" rear axle, or the later 9 1/4" rear axles? Which could relate to a bolt-on rear caliper mount. Or the distance between that flange and the axle flange?

PLUS having to incorporate the parking brake on a car without the trans-mounted parking brake unit, but I also suspect this is not foreign territory, either.

On the front, issues of ball joint stud sizes and wheel bearing ID/OD/width comparisons, plus the bearing grease seals come into play, as with other C-body systems.

Obviously, Wilwood would not back away from a Leno conversion, but might from a "common enthusiast", or so it seems. But IF they still have the file on the Leno Imperial, they could probably do a limited run of parts to do it again. Afterall, Leno apparently funded their basic research and development of the system. Now, all they'd have to do is make some more at a lower selling price (as basic R&D have already been funded). NOT going to be a big market, obviously, but a "one-time deal" for an appreciative market, I suspect. Although "good will" will never increase their corporate profits by very much at all.

Just some thoughts,
CBODY67
 
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